tue 23/04/2024

Bernstein

Maestro review - the infinite variety of Leonard Bernstein

The only seriously false note about Maestro is its title. Yes, Bernstein was masterly as a conductor, and Bradley Cooper gives it his best shot. But he was no master of his life as a whole. Maybe the title should have been something like Lenny and...

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Skride, National Symphony Orchestra, Matheuz, National Concert Hall, Dublin - musical philosophies soar

Promising on paper, dazzling in practice: with a superlative soloist and conductor, this programme just soared on wings of philosophy-into-music. The spotlighting of NSO co-leader Elaine Clark provided another thread, from the opening chant of Linda...

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Candide, Welsh National Opera review - vaut le voyage, just for the visual side

If you read the synopsis of Candide - which I strongly advise if you plan a visit to this new WNO production - you may well wonder how it will be possible to get through so much in so short a time. Voltaire’s novella is itself fairly short, but...

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Fröst, Philharmonia, Lazarova, Kuusisto, Southbank Centre review - congenial new works complemented by live-wire classics

Anna Clyne’s engaging First Person here led me to two of her works in a Philharmonia rainbow. She curated a woodwind-based gem of a 6pm programme of works by four women composers, herself included, and her Clarinet Concerto could only gain from two...

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Bernstein's Mass, RNCM, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - a happening, a demo, an achievement

Leonard Bernstein’s Mass has something of the nature of what might have been called a “happening” at the time he wrote it. It was 1971, and it was created for and premiered at the opening of the Kennedy Center in Washington.It’s set for very large...

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Classical CDs: Symmetrical storms, basset horns and a happy workshop

 Jacqueline du Pré: The Complete Warner Recordings (Warner Classics)There’s something both humbling and miraculous that a great musician’s recorded output can be squeezed into a neat box. Most of the material in Warner Classics’ latest...

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Classical CDs: Violins, timpani thwacks and a symphony of iron and steel

 Gidon Kremer: The Warner Collection (Warner Classics)The words of dedication in Gidon Kremer’s autobiography, Between Worlds (2003) are chosen with care. The book is, he wrote, for “all those who are seeking their way”. The Latvian-born...

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Bernstein Double Bill, Opera North review - fractured relationships in song and dance

Leonard Bernstein’s one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti enjoyed a relatively trouble-free gestation, at least compared to his other stage works. Its seven short scenes last around 50 minutes, Bernstein providing his own libretto and completing much of...

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Wonderful Town, Quick Fantastic, Opera Holland Park review - everybody's swinging it

It’s a wonderful thing to hear a nine-piece Broadway-style band at full pelt, and to see real show dancing – the first time for me, in both cases, since early 2020. Wonderful, too, is this sassiest of 1950s musicals, for which those great lyricists...

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Trouble in Tahiti/A Dinner Engagement, Royal College of Music review - slick, witty and warm

It’s a clever decision to pair Lennox Berkeley’s A Dinner Engagement with Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti. The first is all about happily-ever-after, while the second is all about what happens next. The optimistic grime and smog of 1950s...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, Bernstein in Paris

 Mendelssohn: Symphonies 1-5, Overtures, A Midsummer Night’s Dream London Symphony Orchestra/Sir John Eliot Gardiner (LSO Live)That Mendelssohn wrote five symphonies is widely known, though I'd wager that 99% of listeners only know 40% of them...

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Candide, LSO, Alsop, Barbican review - nearly the best of all possible...

When the biggest laugh in Bernstein’s Candide goes to a narrator’s mention of how nationalism was sweeping through Europe, you may have a problem. Still, the Bernstein Centenary has been among the best of all possible anniversary celebrations this...

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